The Master of Arts in Teaching with an Emphasis in Professional Learning Communities is designed for licensed teachers who are interested in becoming more valued in their schools for their expertise, such as individuals who wish to become mentor teachers, as well as those who want to become more effective in their own classroom. This PLC degree program stems from a grass roots approach to teaching that involves more collaboration from teachers in the form of learning communities, rather than information disseminating from the principal down to the teachers.
The PLC degree program curriculum focuses on the research, rationale and realities associated with the movement toward professional learning communities in schools. Students explore the history of professional learning communities, the research upon which they are based, the characteristics that differentiate them from other collaborative models, and their relationship to a variety of school reform initiatives. Special emphasis is placed upon what can be learned from previous implementations of the professional learning communities' framework and how future models may be developed that are more meaningful and effective.
This program also focuses on the shift in emphasis from teaching to learning and the role of the teacher as designer and facilitator in professional learning communities. Students in the PLC degree program will explore the impact of shared instructional leadership and the importance of collaboration and teamwork, including a focus on making collective decisions and serving as a liaison between the school and community. This program also includes an emphasis on data analysis and data-driven decision making.
An action research component is included in the PLC degree program. This participative research project involves the teacher conducting research within his/her current teaching position and then applying the research to impact change in his/her own classroom or school.
Geared toward individuals who are already licensed as teachers, the PLC degree program does not lead to licensure but may lead to career advancement. Program applicants must submit a copy of a current teaching license or provide evidence of a minimum of one year of teaching experience. In addition, it is essential for students to have access to a K-12 classroom to complete the program assignments.
* Please refer to the Academic Catalog for more information. Program subject to change.